Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jazz Influence Mark Isbell SBE 2002

A straight ahead quintet that hits all their marks and then some!
Brent Black /

Old school, straight ahead or mainstream are all open ended tags for jazz that follow the form and function of bebop while perhaps tossing in some Latin and even a contemporary riff or two. Jazz Influence is a solid, versatile outing featuring saxophonist Mark Isbell. Acoustic jazz from "back in the day." Isbell is an incredibly lyrical player that moves in an almost stealth like fashion from ballads to burners without the self indulgent exploration found in similar bands.

Syncopated swing with a vibrant splash of nuanced texture embraces what the manipulation of melody is all about in an artist that doesn't just play a tune, he crawls inside it. Tone, phrasing, and intonation are all there. The remaining co-conspirators provide engaging counterpoint and lyrical sense of purpose that allow this quintet to simply go about the business of making great music.

Jazz Influence is a release of conversations, call and response melodic movement that is organic by definition yet contemporary in execution. "Portrait of Jenny" and "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes" are knocked out with precision while the Michel Petrucciani tune "Chloe Meets Gershwin" adds just a touch of free form exploration to keep things moving.

Jazz Influence is text book every step of the way. A master class in straight ahead acoustic jazz. While this is a 2002 release, Jazz Influences is a prime example of the thousands of recordings that are "out there" and need a second chance at life.

Tracks: I've Never Been In Love Before; The Night Has A Thousand Eyes; Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most; Jazz Influence; I Didn't Know What Time It Was; Sweet Georgia Fame; Portrait of Jenny; Chloe Meets Gershwin; The Shining Sea; Just In Time.
Personnel: Mark Isbell: Saxophone; Peter Sprague: Guitar; Mike Wofford: Piano; Bob Magnusson: Bass; John Guerin: Drums